{"id":2119,"date":"2019-01-05T05:13:03","date_gmt":"2019-01-05T05:13:03","guid":{"rendered":"http:\/\/overinireland.com\/?p=2119"},"modified":"2019-07-25T09:05:06","modified_gmt":"2019-07-25T09:05:06","slug":"things-to-know-before-visiting-ireland","status":"publish","type":"post","link":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/things-to-know-before-visiting-ireland\/","title":{"rendered":"20 Things You MUST Know Before Visiting Ireland"},"content":{"rendered":"\n

Between members of the Irish diaspora looking for their roots, gay couples looking for a perfect wedding destination, and literature buffs looking to pay homage to the greats, Ireland sees millions of tourists every year.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Tourism is a ten-figure industry in Ireland, and the Irish people have grown accustomed to accommodating tourists with all their foreign ways.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

But the fact that the locals are friendly and used to tourist doesn\u2019t make it okay to go to Ireland without learning a thing or two about the country beforehand.<\/em><\/p>\n\n\n\n

It pays off to read up on Ireland before visiting \u2014 it will help you have a good time and avoid offending the locals.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Here are 20 things you should know before Visiting Ireland: <\/em><\/strong><\/p>\n\n\n\n


DO: Shake people\u2019s hands when meeting them.<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Some visitors come to Ireland with their mind set on something else than meeting new people. But as soon as they meet the Irish, they learn that much of the country\u2019s charm is due to the nature of the people who live there. It would be a complete waste of a vacation, a visit, or even a business trip to Ireland without meeting at least one Irish person.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The regular or the \u2018correct\u2019 way of greeting people when meeting them is to shake hands. Once you\u2019re first acquainted with someone, shake their hand firmly and look them straight in the eye. If introduced to a whole family, shake hands with the older children.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

People who know each other well might hug, kiss on the cheek, or do both. The Irish will greet with a kiss if at least one of the two people is a woman \u2014 two men will rarely if ever greet this way. And if being a trailblazer for the practice sounds good, think again: Ireland is a very curious mix of progressive and conservative. As a visitor, always prepare for the latter.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Do the accent<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Another great thing about learning a thing or two about Ireland beforehand is that the locals might appreciate the effort. For example, learning a phrase or two in good Irish will show the locals that you\u2019ve put some time and thought into learning about Ireland and its people.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

But that\u2019s not an invitation to start speaking with an Irish accent as soon as you land in Ireland, and especially not when meeting people for the first time. Those who find it funny or charming to speak with an Irish accent to Irish people should think again. They are doing nothing but being rude for no reason.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Also, going around Ireland and wishing ‘top of the mornin\u2019!’ to people along the way isn\u2019t something the Irish do. They don\u2019t use that phrase at all. Visitors who want to greet people using the local lingo can say something like ‘how\u2019s the form’ or ‘how\u2019s about yee’ for ‘how are you.’ \u201cWhat\u2019s the craic\u201d is another good option. And never mention rising roads when departing.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Celebrate the gift of the gab<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

The phrase \u2018gift of the gab\u2019 gets thrown around a lot when talking about Ireland. The legend has it that people who kiss the famous Blarney Stone get this gift. From then on, they should be able to talk in a way that\u2019s persuasive, charming, and enticing. Now think about how many famous writers came out of Ireland just in the 20th<\/sup> century.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Verbal expression is important to the Irish, and you can enjoy their way with words in several ways. The Blarney Stone is a part of a wall at Castle Blarney, which lies around five miles away from Cork. Trying to get the gift is a worthy pursuit, but so is going on a literary tour of Ireland. James Joyce, Samuel Becket, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and Elizabeth Bowen are only some of the famous Irish writers worthy of homage.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

If time is in short supply, the only thing one needs to do to appreciate the verbal charm of the Irish is to chat with them. Even situations like waiting at a bus station in a major city are great for starting conversations with strangers. Going to a local pub opens even more opportunities to speak with locals.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Make jokes about inappropriate subjects<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

The list of things the Irish find funny is a long one. It contains other Irish people, you, and Bono. Cork accent is on there too, and so are puns. Enda Kenny has a prominent place, and no, dirty jokes are not a taboo. But even people who can joke about everything have some things that are beyond reach.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

If there\u2019s one thing to know about the history of Ireland, it should be that the country and its people endured a lot of hardships in the past. And that\u2019s putting it very mildly.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The Irish have moved on, but using any of the dark periods of Irish history for humor isn\u2019t going to charm the locals. Avoid jokes about the Famine or the IRA. Don\u2019t go into a bar and order an Irish Car Bomb. Don\u2019t be that person.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Another thing you should avoid joking about is religion in general, and the Catholic Church in particular. It\u2019s true that the Irish are not as religious today as they were twenty or thirty years ago. But the Church still gets a lot of respect. It\u2019s best to avoid it as a topic for jokes.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Rent a small car<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

European visitors to Ireland know how incredibly convenient it gets to have a small car. It\u2019s the same across the whole small, crowded continent. But American visitors, who are accustomed to the spaciousness their continent offers, should rent the car that looks the most like a toy to them. And they\u2019ll be thanking themselves later for it.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Going around the countryside in Ireland without a car isn\u2019t too practical. Ireland has a transportation system that can get you from one end of the island to the other. The system is not nearly as developed as its British counterpart, however.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Public transportation can be expensive, slow, and too rigid for sightseeing and exploration. Renting a car is a much better idea. A small and nimble one is a practical solution for the small, winding country roads.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

If you\u2019re adamant about driving a car in Irish cities, a small car makes a lot of sense for the task. It will be easier to parallel park in the cities. It will also use less petrol than a huge car, and petrol is a commodity that\u2019s way more expensive in Europe than in the United States.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Bother Driving if you stay in Dublin<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Here\u2019s the thing about renting cars in Ireland \u2014 there are no reasons to do it unless going across the island is a part of the trip. If Dublin is the only place in Ireland you want to visit, the list of pros and cons of renting a car is unbalanced, as there are no reasons to drive in Dublin.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

At 115 square kilometers or roughly 44.5 square miles, Dublin isn\u2019t a very big city. Still, it\u2019s big enough to make walking across it difficult. But the city center is much more walkable than the whole city, and it\u2019s also the place that hosts most, if not all, of the things that are worth seeing.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

If that\u2019s not enough motivation for ditching the car while in Dublin, the fact that the traffic often slows to a crawl should be. The price of parking can add up quickly, too. And Dublin has a decent public transportation system for when you need to give the legs some rest or to reach the other side of the city.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Get out of Dublin<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Every visit to Ireland should include a check-in with the capital city. It\u2019s the same for every country of a similar size, where most of the excitement is in one urban spot. But no matter how alluring Dublin\u2019s Grafton Street or the Trinity College get, you should always be aware that there\u2019s so much more to Ireland than Dublin.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The Cliffs of Moher, for example, are a well-known tourist attraction in Ireland that\u2019s located on the opposite coast from Dublin, as are the Kylemore Abbey, the Ring of Kerry, and many other beautiful natural and human-made attractions worth visiting. No matter how great Dublin is, there\u2019s a whole beautiful country beyond it.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Even if sightseeing isn\u2019t a priority and you want to experience only the urban side of Ireland, Dublin is still not the only place to visit. Cork, Derry, Limerick, and Galway are urban centers that will offer at least a couple of days\u2019 worth of fun, and probably more with the right timing.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Forget your manners on the road<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

People coming to Ireland should avoid the traffic in Ireland\u2019s cities, as you know by now. However, there\u2019s no better way to experience the beauty of the rural side of Ireland than by car. And whoever gets on the rural roads in Ireland better remember to mind their manners.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

When driving on country roads, it\u2019s common courtesy to greet the drivers passing by. They don\u2019t have to be acquaintances or friends, as this isn\u2019t that kind of greeting.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

It\u2019s more like a small gesture people do to acknowledge their fellow drivers. Raising the hand from the steering wheel for a split second would do. Even raising a single finger is an appropriate way to be respectful of other drivers.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Country roads in Ireland are narrow, and it takes patience and a sense of cooperation to navigate them. Staying courteous during those situations makes everyone\u2019s life just a little bit easier. After all, those friendly gestures drivers exchange in Ireland should remind you that you\u2019re not alone on the road.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Buy a round of drinks<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

A visit to Ireland cannot be complete without a meet-up with some friends in a pub for a couple of drinks. People who are new to Ireland soon notice that one person in the company would buy one round, another person would buy the next, and so on. And if you\u2019re wondering whether the visitors are expected to buy a round for their drinking buddies, the answer is \u2014 yes.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The locals call it \u201cgetting a round in,\u201d and skipping it will invite shame for years to come. At least that\u2019s what happens to locals who fail to get theirs in because the Irish have a good memory when it comes to buying rounds. It doesn\u2019t matter if you didn\u2019t have a drink for a couple of rounds \u2014 nothing can excuse you from buying one.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

There are a couple of other etiquette rules that go with the rounds system. For example, ordering very expensive drinks in a company that\u2019s drinking cheap beer is not okay. On the other hand, sharing crisps with friends is a good thing to do, and so is helping the person carrying the drinks if they need the help. It\u2019s all just common sense.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Get easily offended by swearing<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Irish people like to talk. They like to write, too, going by the number of famous Irish writers. It\u2019s the utility of language they like, or at least that\u2019s one of the ways to explain why the Irish love to swear so much. But that shouldn\u2019t necessarily offend, even when they are aiming swearwords at you.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

When used by the Irish, swearwords can do a lot of things. For one, their widespread use is an example of changing social mores, as only men used them in the past, and even then there were only appropriate places to use them. The Irish also swear for effect, embellishment, to mess with uptight people, or to sound tough.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

So when someone calls you something rude, make sure to look at the broader context of the communication as well as their body language. What would otherwise pass as an insult can easily be a term of endearment, with a smile and a hug as the only differences? And when you\u2019re sure it\u2019s not an insult, don\u2019t be afraid to fire back in the same way.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Bring an umbrella and sunglasses. And a sweater. Even in the summer.<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

One of the best things about visiting Ireland is that the country is open for visitors the whole year around. The climate is mild, so there shouldn\u2019t be too many weather extremes, even during the winter. But yes, the winters get colder than the rest of the year, so maybe skip them when planning a visit. Still, that leaves the spring, the summer, and the autumn for visits.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The only problem is that the weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable. In general, this means that the Irish can experience sudden rain at any time of the day in any month of the year. During the spring and autumn, sudden hail and thunderstorms are also common.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Preparing for sudden changes in weather is a must for any traveler to Ireland. You\u2019ll need layers of clothes and a waterproof top layer or an umbrella. Waterproof shoes would also be nice. Also, don\u2019t forget to keep an eye for weather forecasts on the TV. They are accurate and very useful.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Display affection in public<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Dublin isn\u2019t the most romantic city in Ireland, even though it hosts the relics of St. Valentine. Galway, a city on the island\u2019s west coast, has the title of the country\u2019s most romantic city. And if by chance you end up in Galway with a significant other, remember to refrain from showing affection in public. It\u2019s a big no-no in Galway, Dublin, or any other part of Ireland.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

There are many reasons why Ireland is a perfect place for a romantic getaway. Since same-sex marriage became legal, the country has also become a popular wedding destination for the gay community. But still, you should remember that the Irish don\u2019t approve of behavior that is deemed too physical.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

And it\u2019s not just with people in love. Behaving physically aggressive towards friends isn\u2019t acceptable, either. Being loud or arrogant is also frowned upon, so it\u2019s best to avoid it. The Irish appreciate modesty in appearance and behavior, so don\u2019t draw attention to yourself without a need.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Carry cash and cards<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Ireland, like much of Europe, is a credit-card friendly country. The most popular and widely-accepted credit cards in Ireland are MasterCard and Visa.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Getting by with an American Express or Diners Club card shouldn\u2019t be too hard, either. As long as you stay within the cities, there will rarely be a reason to use cash.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

But the further you go from big cities, the harder it gets to find an ATM or a business that accepts cards. If a business in the city doesn\u2019t accept cards, it\u2019s easy to find another one that does.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

But if the business in question is a gasoline station and you replace the city with the countryside, the situation can quickly turn sour.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Carrying some cash is a good idea when staying in cities, even though it\u2019s not necessary. When visiting the countryside, however, it is a necessity. The Irish use the euro as their currency, and so do the visitors when paying with cash in the country.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Paying in euros with a credit card is also a better option because it lets your bank do the conversion at a lower exchange rate.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Try to tip everyone<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Tipping is one of those things you should research well before getting into a situation where it might happen. It gets very awkward quickly if you have to ask a waiter whether tipping is a requirement in Ireland. So here\u2019s the answer: it\u2019s not.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Ireland doesn\u2019t have a strict tipping culture. People who work in restaurants, bars, and coffee shops get a paycheck, so not leaving a tip isn\u2019t the same as taking food from their mouth. The Irish generally don\u2019t tip bartenders, B&B staff, or taxi drivers.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

On the other hand, it is customary to leave a tip in a restaurant with table service. Around ten percent of the bill would do. Tipping hairdressers is also a common practice, with ten percent or a couple of euros being the most common tip. Rounding up to the nearest reasonable number is also an accepted way of tipping in Ireland.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Eat traditional Irish food<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Some national cuisines are infamous for being unfriendly to visitors. But as far as traditional cooking goes, the way the Irish practice it shouldn\u2019t cause your stomach to ache. The Irish enjoy local produce, but they are also fond of dairy products and local meats.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

A good way to start a day in Ireland is with the Full Irish, the Irish version of a full breakfast and a famous hangover cure.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Later during the day, the Irish stew is a good choice. It consists of lamb or beef, potatoes, and other veggies, and the locals often eat it with a pint and some local bread. And speaking of local bread, the Irish soda bread is arguably one of the healthiest types of bread you can eat.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Of course, Ireland also has some modern classics that are worth trying out. The chicken fillet roll is that type of food \u2014 it\u2019s the sandwich responsible for delivering affordable sustenance to Ireland\u2019s student population. And it\u2019s another type of food you might appreciate after a night out.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Be bothered if people are late<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

No one can deny that the Irish are hardworking people. With the way their economy had changed over the past twenty years or so, one cannot escape the conclusion that the Irish are business-minded, too. But someone who would judge the Irish solely based on their timeliness wouldn\u2019t draw these conclusions.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

People who visit Ireland shouldn\u2019t mind if their Irish friends or business partners are a bit late. No one says that standing people up is a national sport but being on time is something the Irish do not practice a lot. And it has nothing to do with respect or liking \u2014 the relaxed sense of time is a cultural thing in Ireland.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The fact that you\u2019re in Ireland doesn\u2019t make it acceptable to behave like the Irish. When it comes to tardiness, the Irish don\u2019t expect it from foreigners, especially in a business setting. So try to always be on time, even if the people you\u2019re meeting will not.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Arrange for transport after a night of drinking<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

Drunk driving is one of the most dangerous and irresponsible things people can do. It doesn\u2019t matter whether, at home or abroad, drunk drivers are a danger to themselves, other drivers, and pedestrians. And in Ireland, drivers can be pulled over for testing whether they exhibit signs of being drunk or not.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The Garda, or the Irish police, doesn\u2019t need a cause to pull drivers over. They will randomly stop drivers for testing, and there\u2019s nothing to do but comply. The legal blood alcohol limit for fully licensed drivers in Ireland is 50 mg per 100 ml of blood. Anything north of that and you\u2019ll get a fine.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Foreigners driving in Ireland might have a hard time getting used to driving on the left side of the road. Anything that causes them to lose focus is dangerous, and a drink can do that even when it doesn\u2019t raise the blood alcohol level beyond the limits. So walk, call a cab, or take public transportation after having a drink.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Play into Irish stereotypes. Or at least keep it to yourself<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

People who visit Ireland can sometimes get obsessed with leprechauns and pots of gold. They might tell leprechaun jokes to the locals or ask about the best places to catch one. It\u2019s all in good spirit, and the locals probably appreciate leprechauns as much as the visitors do, right? Wrong. No one in Ireland cares about leprechauns that much.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The leprechaun isn\u2019t the only stereotype about Ireland visitors should avoid if they don\u2019t want to be rude or offensive. Calling a hangover \u2018the Irish flu\u2019 is another one that has no place in modern Ireland. Calling vomit on the sidewalk in front of a pub an \u2018Irish cookie\u2019 is also bad form.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Ireland and the Irish have a strong and distinct personality, and popular culture used it in a way that wasn\u2019t always flattering. But there\u2019s no reason for you to add to the pile, isn\u2019t there? Especially if adding means being annoying with leprechauns or insisting that the Irish are drunks even though alcohol use has been steadily declining in the country.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DO: Expect the unexpected<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

If there\u2019s a lesson to learn from the Irish weather, it\u2019s that you should always leave some room for the unexpected when in Ireland. Just like the beautiful rolling hills give way to dramatic coastlines or beaches, so do the Irish pack a lot of surprises underneath all the charm.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

For example, the Irish might be prouder of their national identity than other people because it took them a long while to get the chance to express it, and many horrible things happened during that time. But that doesn\u2019t stop the Irish from being welcoming to strangers or enjoying self-deprecating humor.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Ireland made headlines in 2015 when it became the first country in the world that legalized same-sex marriage by popular vote. However, almost four-fifths of the Irish are Catholics, and the Church has traditionally had a lot of influence over Irish society. Don\u2019t rush to assumptions about Ireland, its customs, and its people.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

DON\u2019T: Try to \u2018do\u2019 Ireland.<\/h2>\n\n\n\n

By all means, have a list of things to do while in Ireland. Create a detailed itinerary. And then, just before it\u2019s time to start making reservations for bus fares to get across the island, stop and forget about the itinerary and the plans. Ireland is not a tourist destination you simply \u2018do.\u2019<\/p>\n\n\n\n

Ireland and strict planning don\u2019t go well together. One of the reasons for this is because there\u2019s simply too much of Ireland you need to experience from a car. And then once in a car, nothing is stopping you from going around and exploring the whole island. Not only that nothing is in the way, but the landscape itself is actively inviting.<\/p>\n\n\n\n

The same goes for staying in Dublin. For a city of its size, Dublin has more than its fair share of hidden gems only the locals will know. And because of the friendly Irish, there should always be some room for spontaneity in your plans, as well as for coming back to Ireland. Because the biggest \u2018don\u2019t\u2019 of coming to Ireland is that you don\u2019t forget to come again.<\/p>\n","protected":false},"excerpt":{"rendered":"

Between members of the Irish diaspora looking for their roots, gay couples looking for a perfect wedding destination, and literature buffs looking to pay homage to the greats, Ireland sees millions of tourists every year. Tourism is a ten-figure industry in Ireland, and the Irish people have grown accustomed to […]<\/p>\n","protected":false},"author":4,"featured_media":2567,"comment_status":"open","ping_status":"open","sticky":false,"template":"","format":"standard","meta":{"_seopress_robots_primary_cat":"none","jetpack_post_was_ever_published":false,"_jetpack_newsletter_access":"","_jetpack_newsletter_tier_id":0,"footnotes":"","jetpack_publicize_message":"","jetpack_is_tweetstorm":false,"jetpack_publicize_feature_enabled":true,"jetpack_social_post_already_shared":true,"jetpack_social_options":{"image_generator_settings":{"template":"highway","enabled":false}}},"categories":[6,5],"tags":[],"jetpack_publicize_connections":[],"jetpack_featured_media_url":"https:\/\/i0.wp.com\/overinireland.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2019\/01\/ireland-sunset.jpg?fit=800%2C533&ssl=1","jetpack_sharing_enabled":true,"jetpack_shortlink":"https:\/\/wp.me\/pauohh-yb","jetpack-related-posts":[],"_links":{"self":[{"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/posts\/2119"}],"collection":[{"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/posts"}],"about":[{"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/types\/post"}],"author":[{"embeddable":true,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/users\/4"}],"replies":[{"embeddable":true,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/comments?post=2119"}],"version-history":[{"count":9,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/posts\/2119\/revisions"}],"predecessor-version":[{"id":3467,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/posts\/2119\/revisions\/3467"}],"wp:featuredmedia":[{"embeddable":true,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/media\/2567"}],"wp:attachment":[{"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/media?parent=2119"}],"wp:term":[{"taxonomy":"category","embeddable":true,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/categories?post=2119"},{"taxonomy":"post_tag","embeddable":true,"href":"https:\/\/overinireland.com\/wp-json\/wp\/v2\/tags?post=2119"}],"curies":[{"name":"wp","href":"https:\/\/api.w.org\/{rel}","templated":true}]}}